Dear Humans of America,
This past year and even down to the last few months or so have ultimately made me numb. The senseless and unexplainable acts of violence and shoddy behavior have become all too commonplace. This is not a norm that I am willing to embrace and it is certainly not one that I am inclined to make “normal” for my family.
It baffles me that as a country we maintain to stand united but then we cast stones at athletes that refuse to “stand” with hand over heart in allegiance to our bad behavior.
Do not misconstrue my remarks and take away from the idea that I applaud and am grateful for those that have made great sacrifices on battlefields and battlegrounds protecting the freedom of all. Families across this nation, including my own, can rest easy on most days from outside attacks (though internal ones may arise and prove a great threat as well). On the other hand, I do not forget those that also stood in sacrifice but somehow never had their names recorded or etched into a wall that we could forever remember.
It baffles me that you want me to play along in this parody of greatness.
It baffles me that our quilt of many colors has faded—not to black—but instead to the absence of color.
It baffles me that we have gained so much ground over time and are now backsliding into ways and behavior that once were considered to bring shame. That is troublesome!
As an educator, what message of hope do I offer my students? Who am I supposed to pretend to be? What lesson do I teach that includes their many voices and that of their ancestors?
I am remiss because you have found the foolish, naive, guileless and innocent parts of me! I thought that the educated side of me with a decent career and earnest and honest way of living would give me a seat at the table. Ahhh–Pardon me! I do hear and see very clearly now that you aren’t even hiding your hand or muting your lips on how you really feel about your “fellow man”!
SHAME ON ME!
When one of our fellow humans is affected, we should not shun them but instead stand with them. Let me not be the chronometer of your moral compass but instead do allow me the right to simply speak from my perspective and experiences. A few years back, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke of the Danger of a Single Story in her Ted Talk and it resonated with me because I am mindful of the feelings of my students, colleagues and those I engage with daily. My only mission is that WE all can honestly and openly acknowledge that WE have all contributed to helping this nation RISE! If that makes you uncomfortable or you find it to be untrue then please do a fact check on the many people that made America great. In this podcast episode of This American Life, the talks of fear, lies, and accusations are explored even more. It is amazing how when individuals become fearful they begin to create lies and sell it to the point where it resonates as true. The sad part is the throng of people that blindly follow without any substantial proof or evidence.
Nonetheless, I do not want to get into finger pointing and blaming because there is not a sum of a single group of people that are altogether good nor altogether bad. I cannot find a justifiable reason to cast any person aside because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual preference. I know what it feels like to be cast aside because of someone else’s insecurities. In a previous workplace, I was demoted from a lead position not because I couldn’t get the job done but because someone else was able to craft a set of lies and sell them to a group of “followers.” Well, like the old saying goes “one monkey don’t stop no show.” I’ll save the details of that story for another post!
Overall, individuals or groups of people can move their agenda forwards based on lies. I love how HONY weaves a common thread and highlights an important fact —We are Humans! If we do not see the value in connecting the dots and uniting our stories from state to state, country to country,and beyond then I shake my head in disappointment but raise my voice because my silence would not otherwise change or call out the behavior.
I try not to get involved in politics, it is just not my passion or area of strength but this election has taught me that I truly care about my country and the progression of mankind. It is not solely about the money but of course it is important for us to stabilize our economy. More importantly, I value the idea of people feeling dignified, appreciated and part of a global community. I cannot ignore the feelings of division that seem to be growing greater. I think I have pinpointed the root of the problem as The FEAR! But why?
This theme plays out in works like Tell-Tale Heart, Monkey’s Paw, and Twilight Zone’s Monster’s on Maple Street. It is also evident in many historical events that magnify some of the darkest moments in our nation.
Most recently, Sara Bareilles and Leslie Odom collaborated on this piece. I had my students annotate the meaning of this song. They will get the opportunity to answer questions with some educators in my professional learning network (PLN) through Voxer and then ask some questions of their own while blogging from their personal sites.
The opening line of Seriously begins with “Let’s start with hope..” and honestly, that is where I want to keep my focus. That hope and dream isn’t dead to me because I see evidence of the goodness of my fellow Americans when I watch shows like UnderCover Boss. I weep like a baby at the end of each episode. When I see many videos that go viral with the goodness and longing in the hearts of Americans for something greater and better–then I am left to hold onto HOPE! We cannot allow lies and fear to control us as a nation. We cannot tear ourselves or each other down and be stripped down to the bare bones. We cannot resurrect the spirit of McCarthyism from the 1950s which influenced Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. This cannot become the Salem Witch Trials all over again. Let us not do this again to each other while other countries sit back and watch us tear ourselves apart!
This country represents the hope that may dream of and we cannot wear this shame and regret for eternity. There is time to fix it and that time is NOW! Follow your heart and take all that is at stake but most importantly be selfless and think of one another my dear fellow Humans!